When should men see a doctor for urinary incontinence?

In regards to the lower urinary tract, there are three major causes of urinary incontinence in men, not including neurological or psychiatric causes.

The first is urge incontinence, which is overactivity of the bladder muscles causing the bladder to contract and lead to sudden incontinence.

The second is stress incontinence, which is related to poor sphincter function in the urethra. With stress incontinence the urethra is unable to hold the urine in once the bladder is full. This can be secondary to things like trauma (including surgery) or nerve damage.

The third cause is overflow incontinence, which is related to incomplete emptying of the bladder when urinating. This leads to a fuller bladder, and when the urethral sphincter relaxes, urine can be released, causing leaking.

When suffering with incontinence it is important to remember that oftentimes people will have a mixed-cause incontinence, making it difficult to find the exact cause and treatment initially.
Gladys Y. Ng, MD
Men should see a doctor for urinary incontinence if they have recurring urinary tract infections. Men don't typically get urinary tract infections. If a man is getting a lot of urinary tract infections, it’s important to see his doctor and get it checked out.

Also, men should get a checkup if they see blood in their urine. This may occur when they void, or sometimes, their primary care doctor tests their urine and sees some blood cells. There is a certain threshold for blood cells that specify abnormality, so that is a reason to see a specialist.

Men with urinary incontinence who have blood in their urine could have a tumor or the prostate gland could be getting bigger. As the prostate gland gets bigger, there is a lot more recruitment of blood vessels. Sometimes after the man urinates, at the end of the stream he can have a little blood come up. It's good to get that checked out by a specialist.

Also, if men feel like they are not emptying their bladder completely and it always feels full, they should see their doctor. If a man is unable to void or the bladder is unable to squeeze urine out because there is an obstruction or nerve damage in the bladder, the bladder may be all the way up to the belly button. That requires treatment immediately by putting a catheter in. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.